Cleaning your fireplace can be a messy job if not done correctly. The ashes left behind in your fireplace tend to be very fine, which can easily become airborne, potentially creating breathing hazards inside your house. Proper care is important to prevent struggling with the thick black build-up inside your fireplace, spreading ash throughout your living room and sending dust and soot throughout your home.
Additionally, if you don't have a top-sealing chimney damper on your chimney flue, there's a possibility of bird nests in your flue. This can result in a number of dangerous parasites and bacteria entering your home.
When in regular use, you should clean your wood-burning fireplace about once a week. Infrequent use should clean accordingly, once every month or two. Gas-burning fireplaces require annual cleaning.
How to Clean Wood-Burning Fireplaces
- Protect the surrounding area by covering any nearby furniture and carpet with trash bags or old sheets. Keep a trashcan lined with two bags nearby, to dispose of the ash, soot and debris.
- Check the flue for bird nests and other damage or debris that need to be addressed prior to cleaning.
- Remove the andirons and grate and take them outdoors. Spray them down with Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner and use a medium-bristle brush to remove any buildup or stuck-on carbon deposits. Rinse thoroughly with water.
- Clear debris from firebox. This is the area where the fire actually takes place. Using a fireplace shovel, remove ashes and any remaining wood and place in the trash can. Use a small brush or fireplace brush to gently sweep the inside of the chimney and firebox. Use a broom or vacuum to remove the loose dust and ash.
- Clear the creosote. Creosote deposits accumulate from the wood burning in your fireplace. Prevent odorous build-up of creosote in the chimney by spraying it thoroughly with Simple Green, as high as you're able to safely reach. Use the foaming feature on a Simple Green spray bottle to help the cleaner remain on the surface longer. Don't worry if the Simple Green runs down onto the brick below – that will help in the following step.
- Clean the firebox. Spray the walls inside your firebox with Simple Green, and use a stiff bristled brush to loosen soot. Rinse thoroughly with water.
- Clean fireplace screens and doors. Spray fireplace screens and doors with Simple Green. Use a medium bristled brush to scrub away any visible buildup on the screen. Rinse and air dry or dry with paper towel.
- Absorb any excess soot, cleaner or water with paper towel or rags. Replace andirons and grate.
How to Clean Gas Fireplaces
- Turn off the valve. Make sure the gas is off.
- Remove debris. Vacuum or sweep the fireplace area to remove dirt, dust or any chips from glass you find.
- Wipe down logs. Give your synthetic logs a light cleaning by spraying Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner on a paper towel and wiping down the surface.
- Clean firebox screens and doors. Spray fireplace screens and doors with Simple Green. Use a wet \medium bristled brush to scrub away any visible buildup on the screen. Repeat this process on the walls and base of the firebox as needed. Rinse and air dry or dry with paper towel.
- Replace logs.